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Tim Gratz

Did Fidel Kill Kennedy?

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(Above: MAJOR ROLANDO CUBELA)

Since I am apparently the Forum's prime proponent of the "Castro Did It" theory of the assassination, I thought it appropriate to launch a new "thread" so I can start with my scenario of how it might have happened.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, December 5, 1941 was cold but clear in Washington, D.C. It was shortly after lunch when the Cadillac limousine carrying four Japanse diplomats arrived in front of the State Department building. The diplomats were met at the door by an assistant secretary of state who ushered them to the State Department conference room on the fourth floor. Only one of the diplomats spoke English but his mastery of the language was complete. He acted as the interpreter for his Japanse colleagues. A few minutes after the Japanese arrived the contingent of American diplomats entered the conference room. There were five American diplomats, including Assistant Secretary of State _____________________ and an interpreter.

The meeting lasted for almost three hours, and although the atmosphere was cordial little if any substantive progress was made. After the usual exchange of diplomatic pleasantries, the group scheduled another meeting for the following Tuesday

That meeting would never take place.

By the time the Japanese diplomats had finished there dinner, the morning sun was rising on Japan and the top members of the Japanese military were accomplishing the final preparations for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese diplomats in Washington were informed of the attack less than an hour before it occured.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

French journalist Jean Daniel arrived back in Havana on the morning of Wednesday, November 20, 1963. The day before he had had a private meeting with President John F. Kennedy to discuss the possibility of a rapproachment between the U.S. and Cuba. The young American president had been encouraging, and Daniel was anxious to relay Kennedy's comments to Fidel Castro. Daniel was expecting to have a meeting with the Maximum Leader that afternoon. But there was a message for him rescheduling the meeting for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963. Daniel would be meeting with Castro when Castro heard the news of the assassination of President Kennedy, for Castro had deliberately timed the meeting. Castro also knew that at the same time he would be meeting with Daniel, the CIA had a scheduled meeting with his associate Major Rolando Cubela in Paris. At that meeting the CIA would advise Cubela how he could successfully murder Castro.

It is clear, is it not, that Castro scheduled the meeting with Daniel to send a silent but obvious message to the United States. (Castro had used a journalist to send an explicit message to the U.S. two months earlier. That time, the U.S. government had ignored his message, with tragic consequences.)

Just as the Japanese diplomats in 1941 had not been informed of the attack on Pearl Harbor, so President Kennedy had not informed Daniel that his administration was scheduling a second invasion of Cuba. This time it would be done right. This time JFK was not leaving the plans to the CIA; he had given his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, complete authority to organize the second invasion. RFK was working on a "top secret" basis with his friends Manuel Artrime and Harry Williams, both of whom were veterans of Brigade 2506 and had spent over eighteen months in Castro's prison before Bobby negotiated their release in December of 1962.

President Kennedy knew that with Bobby organizing it, the second invasion of Cuba would be successful. He also knew that the replacement of Fidel Castro with a democrat such as Artime or Williams would guarantee his re-election.

Robert Kennedy also had an "ace up his sleeve" (or so he thought) for he knew that the CIA had established communications with an associate of Fidel Castro, a "minister without porfolio" in Castro's cabinet, Major. Rolando Cubela. Cubela was the closest associate of Castro with whom the CIA had ever established a relationship. Although Cubela had approached the CIA in 1961 asking for assistance in defecting, the CIA had at that time encouraged him to stay in Cuba. In 1961 the CIA had had some concerns about Cubela because he had refused to take the polygraph examination the CIA administered to allow Cubans volunteering to work on its behalf.

On September 7, 1963, Cubela had made contact with the CIA in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He met with his CIA case officer, Nestor Sanchez, whom he knew by the name of Nicholas Sanson, and a second (unidentified) CIA officer. This time Cubela made a different offer to Sanson. He would stay in Cuba, but he wanted to "eliminate" Fidel Castro. Although he did not like to use words such as "murder" or "assassinate", the CIA knew Cubela had the fortitude to commit a political murder. In October of 1956 he had walked into the fancy Montmarte night club in downtown Havana and shot in the had Batista's chief of military intelligence. Amidst the screams and pandomonium that ensued, Cubela casually but quickly exited the nightclub, got into the boat awaiting him and left Havana.

Desmond Fitzgerald, the head of the CIA's Task Force W (in charge of the "Cuba problem") was informed of Cubela's offer that very afternoon. Fitzgerald knew that under his predecessor William Harvey the CIA had made numerous attempts to muder Castro, many with the assistance of members of organized crime. None had succeeded. But Fitzgerald knew that in previous attempts the neither the CIA nor its gangster associates had ever been dealing with a man as close to Castro as Cubela, let alone a man who had already successfully accomplished a political assassination. Fitzgerald knew that Richard Helms had been under tremenduous pressure from the Kennedy administration to "get rid of Castro". Cubela could just be the answer.

But two days later Helms and Fitzgerald read a disturbing article in the Washington Post. On the same day that Cubela had approached the CIA in Brazil, Castro had sought out a journalist in the Brazilian Embassy in Havana. Here are Castro's words to the journalist:

"We are taking into account . . . the Caribbean situation, which has been deteriorating in the last few days due to piratical attacks by the United States against the Cuban people. . . Kennedy is a cretin. . .the Batista of our times (!)

"If U.S. leaders are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe. Let Kennedy and his brother Robert take care of themselves since they too can be the victims of an attempt which will cause their death."

[Emphasis supplied.]

Several commentators have noted that Cubela was "squeamish" about the word "assassination" and insisted on using the euphemism "eliminate". I think it may be significant that Castro used the same verbiage as Cubela in his September 7, 1963 warning.

U.S. leaders took Castro's warning seriously. In fact, on September 27, 1963, the Cuban Coordinating Committee directed its subcommittee on Cuban subversion to submit by October 4th an evaluation of just how serious the U.S. should consider Castro's statements. According to New York Times reporter Tad Szulc, this subcommittee was set up at the direction of Robert Kennedy.

The subcommittee concluded that Castro was not likely to retaliate against American leaders on U.S. soil. And, of course, Castro could hardly retaliate if an attempt on his life was successful.

The decision of the Cuan Coordinationg Committee to ignore Castro's warning and the decision of Richard Helms and Desmond Fitzgerald to proceed with Rolando Cubela (the latter decision being made over the objection of several CIA officials, including Ted Shackley, the head of the CIA's JM/WAVE base in Miami: Grayston Lynch; and Joseph Langosch, who feared that Cubela might be an agent provocateur) sealed the fate of President Kennedy.

NEXT: CASTRO'S OCTOBER 31, 1963 MEETING WITH JEAN DANIEL

CUBELA DEMANDS TO MEET WITH ROBERT KENNEDY

VALERY KOSTIKOV MEETS WITH FIDEL CASTRO

Comment: In his post "Did the Soviets/Castro Organize the Assassination", John Simkin characterized the proposition that Castro planned the Kennedy assassination as "ridiculous", in part

because of the "peace negotiations" that were being conducted between the U.S. and Cuba in November of 1963.

But John omitted any reference to the Kennedys' plans for a second invasion of Cuba, or the Cubela plot to kill Castro, both items of obvious relevance to an evaluation whether Castro killed Kennedy.

At the conclusion of these posts I will indicate which or my assertions contain "speculation" or "inference." For instance, in the above post, it is speculative, of course, why Castro chose to meet with Daniel at the

very moment of Kennedy's assassination. But I think the weight of the evidence is clear that Cubela was a double agent and Castro was aware of the continuing American plots against his life.

I will amend this post to provide greater, more specific information about the events leading to World War Two. According to a historian I contacted today (and my memory) the Japanese were conducting peace negotiations in Washington, D.C. at the same time the Japanese military was readying the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although the Japanese diplomats in Washington may not have been aware of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Emperor was, and the negotiations were obviously intended to lull the U.S. into a false sense of security. The parallels with the U.S./Cuba "peace feelures" in the fall of 1963 cannot be discounted.

That President Kennedy encouraged Jean Daniel with positive comments about possible accomodation with Cuba only three days before the CIA delivered to Major Cubela a devise to kill Castro demonstrates the insincerity of the peace initiatives. One does not, in good faith, enter into settlement negotiations with an adversary when one is simultaneously planning the adversary's violent demise.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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The Kennedy Murder, from Hasbro.  A great gift idea for any occasion.  The number one parlor game in the country.  Intellectuals and academics among us scream it's, "spellbinding".

Castro killing Kennedy is not quite "LHO acted alone," but it's close.

I'll take the Mafia for $400, Alex.

Stan: Trafficante helped (if you are serious about Mafia involvement).

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The Kennedy Murder, from Hasbro.  A great gift idea for any occasion.  The number one parlor game in the country.  Intellectuals and academics among us scream it's, "spellbinding".

Castro killing Kennedy is not quite "LHO acted alone," but it's close.

I'll take the Mafia for $400, Alex.

Stan: Trafficante helped (if you are serious about Mafia involvement).

Tim:

Let us remember that CIA sought Mob mechanics for the hits on Castro, not the other way around, in order to provide the Agency with plausible deniability in the event their plots - successful or not - were discovered.

If Mob mechanics were involved in Dealey Plaza, should we not view them - in this instance, too - merely as hired guns working for the Agency?

Or are we to presume the Mob was working for Castro, as you seem to argue?

As I've pointed out elsewhere, there is a clear pattern of CIA plots against Castro - using Mob proxies. Can you cite a single instance of Mob proxies being used by Castro against a US head of state? If so, please share the details.

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Some people have argued that "it did not make sense for Castro to kill JFK."

I diifer with that viewpoint. The US government continued its efforts to kill Castro, and Desmond Fitzgerald told Rolando Cubela that Robert F. Kennedy had personally endorsed Cubela's plot to kill Castro. How could he possibly do any worse under Johnson? And in the event, if it was Castro who killed Kennedy, his gamble paid off for LBJ did shut down the efforts to kill Castro, the sabotage raids, etc. (See last paragraph.)

There is another, humorous answer to this objection. Not only is it humorous, I think there is some point to it.

It comes from Paul Hoch (although he is not himself a proponent of the "Castro-did-it" theory).

"Sure, it didn't make sense for Castro to want to kill Kennedy, but if making sense is the only criterion, how can we explain the plots to kill Castro?" (Paul Hoch, in Echoes of Conspiracy.)

Hoch has a point. We are all familiar with some of the outlandish schemes concocted by Edward Lansdale and Desmond Fitzgerald. In his memoirs, "Inside", Joseph Califano describes another outlandish scheme.proposed on February 14, 1963 by the Chief of Naval Operations: "Attach incendiary devices to bats and drop them over training centers. Bats retire to attics during daylight. Incendiary devices ignite by timers and start fires."

I'd say some of these people had bats in their belfries!

By the way, Califano states in his memoirs that soon after he took office Johnson ordered an end to covert activities against Cuba. Califano traveled around the country in February of 1964 to give this message to the anti-Castro exiles.

Despite what Dawn says, I believe LBJ thought Castro did it. Maybe he suspended the anti-Castro activities because he did not want to be on Fidel's hit list

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Robert Charles-Dunne wrote:

"Or are we to presume the Mob was working for Castro, as you seem to argue?"

The Mob was not (I never said that). But Trafficante was, In fact, he was using his Bolita games to pay Castro's intelligence agents in the U.S. This was common knowledge in the Miami area. Castro was allowing Trafficante to run his drugs from Marseilles into Cuba and then into the U.S. So Trafficante and Castro had a mutually advantageous relationship. Trafficante was Castro's "mole"; that is why the all of the Mafia attempts to kill Castro all failed.

When the time came, Trafficante assisted in the assassination.

Robert Charles-Dunne wrote:

"As I've pointed out elsewhere, there is a clear pattern of CIA plots against Castro -using Mob proxies. Can you cite a single instance of Mob proxies being used by Castro against a US head of state? If so, please share the details."

Yes. Castro enrolled his ally Trafficante in his scheme to kill Kennedy. That is why Gilberto Lopez moved from Key West to Tampa (Trafficante's base) as the plans for the assassination were nearing completion. IMO, Lopez may have been the person who actually shot Kennedy.

As noted in my previous post, LBJ ordered the covert activities against Castro stopped. Castro made his point when he killed Kennedy. After that, no other American President authorized efforts to kill Castro.

So the Kennedy case is necessarily sui generis.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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Robert Charles-Dunne wrote:

"Or are we to presume the Mob was working for Castro, as you seem to argue?"

The Mob was not (I never said that).  But Trafficante was,  In fact, he was using his Bolita games to pay Castro's intelligence agents in the U.S.  This was common knowledge in the Miami area.  Castro was allowing Trafficante to run his drugs from Marseilles into Cuba and then into the U.S.  So Trafficante and Castro had a mutually advantageous relationship.  Trafficante was Castro's "mole"; that is why the all of the Mafia attempts to kill Castro all failed.

When the time came, Trafficante assisted in the assassination.

Robert Charles-Dunne wrote:

"As I've pointed out elsewhere, there is a clear pattern of CIA plots against Castro -using Mob proxies. Can you cite a single instance of Mob proxies being used by Castro against a US head of state? If so, please share the details."

Yes.  But Trafficante was,  In fact, he was using his Bolita games to pay Castro's intelligence agents in the U.S.  This was common knowledge in the Miami area.  Castro was allowing Trafficante to run his drugs from Marseilles into Cuba and then into the U.S.  So Trafficante and Castro had a mutually advantageous relationship.  Trafficante was Castro's "mole"; that is why the all of the Mafia attempts to kill Castro all failed.

When the time came, Trafficante assisted in the assassination.

As noted in my previous post, LBJ ordered the covert activities against Castro stopped.  Castro made his point when he killed Kennedy.  After that, no other American President authorized efforts to kill Castro.

So the Kennedy case is necessarily sui generis.

Tim:

Do you have citations for any of the above, rather than just "common knowledge" catchalls? In particular, perhaps you could provide citations for the following claims:

*Trafficante was using his Bolita games to pay Castro's intelligence agents in the U.S. This was common knowledge in the Miami area.

I've read this as a supposition, but have never seen the factual basis for the allegation. Perhaps you could elaborate on this for us.

*Castro was allowing Trafficante to run his drugs from Marseilles into Cuba and then into the U.S.

Ditto. This was certainly true of Batista, but what evidence - not merely supposition - is there that Castro continued this practice?

*So Trafficante and Castro had a mutually advantageous relationship.

Aside from special treatment while in Castro's prison, I've seen no evidence for this. Had it been true, Trafficante would presumably never have been imprisoned, nor had his Havana holdings expropriated. That seems to have been advantageous to Castro, but not to Trafficante.

*Trafficante was Castro's "mole"; that is why the all of the Mafia attempts to kill Castro all failed.

Likewise, it could also be argued that, having been recruited to undertake this dirty work for Uncle Sam, the Mobsters involved thought they could parlay their pantomime of compliance into protection for themselves, and their interests, from government prosecution. It was an opportunistic gambit, nothing more. Under this scenario, their spectacular failure to kill Castro wasn't because they worked for/with him; their efforts were token, designed to ingratiate themselves with US authorities who should, rightfully, have been prosecuting them, not recruiting them. Bobby Kennedy certainly understood this when he demanded sarcastically that the next time Mobsters were to undertake work for the government, the Attorney General should be made aware.

*Trafficante assisted in the assassination.

Citation please. What do you know that has yet to be proven in public?

*As noted in my previous post, LBJ ordered the covert activities against Castro stopped.

Citation please. On what date? By what executive order?

*After that, no other American President authorized efforts to kill Castro.

Really? And we know this how, exactly? On the contrary, with or without Presidential authorization, the plots were first hatched before Kennedy was even President [John Newman's "Oswald & The CIA, pages 116-118], and continued well after Kennedy's death. Reading the CIA Inspector General's Report of 1967 makes this clear. For instance, this from page 110 of the Report:

QUOTE ON:

"(Comment: It is worth noting that none of Cubela's dealings with CIA from March 1961 until November 1964 were mentioned in the trial proceedings. The first association of Cubela with CIA was in connection with his trip to Europe in late 1964 and early 1965 during which he had his meetings with Artime. The trial evidence was confined to Cubela's counterrevolutionary activities growing out of those meetings with Artime in December 1964 and February 1965.....)"

QUOTE OFF

One could draw any number of conclusions from the foregoing. [LBJ never turned off the plots; LBJ did order the plots to stop, but he was ignored in the same way his predecessor had been, etc., etc.] But the likeliest seems to be that CIA's plots against Castro weren't undertaken at Presidential insistence, but were done without Presidential knowledge or authorization, irrespective of who was sitting in the Oval Office.

Finally, I asked: "Can you cite a single instance of Mob proxies being used by Castro against a US head of state?"

To which you replied: "So the Kennedy case is necessarily sui generis."

I'll take that as Latin for "No."

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Dawn once used the famous acronynm, "KISS" (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

Let's try that here:

A has been trying to kill B.

On September 7, 2004, B tells A, "If you try to kill me ahain, I will kill you."

On October 29, 2004, A engages C to murder B. However, unknown to A, C is secretly working for B, and C immediately reports to B that A is trying to murder him again.

On November 22, 2004, A is killed.

It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots. B made good on his threat.

Let's take the scenario one step further: B is brought to trial. B demonstrates that A had, on at least a dozen occasions, tried to kill him. B is also able to demonstrate that the police were unable or unwilling to protect him.

Query: would a jury convict B for murdering A?

Edited by Tim Gratz

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To Rrobert Chasrles-Dunne:

A simple question for you:

Have you read either: "Live By the Sword" (which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, by the way) or "The Secret History of the CIA", or are you rejecting the facts and arguments in those books without even having bothered to read them?

Edited by Tim Gratz

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To Brobert Chasrles-Dunne:

A simple question for you:

Have you read either: "Live By the Sword" (which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, by the way) or "The Secret History of the CIA", or are you rejecting the facts and arguments in those books without even having bothered to read them?

Tim, you are obviously not acquainted with Robert at all. If you're open to it, you're in for real education. If your interest is in winning a debate with him, I'd bring a towel to stop the bleeding. I can assure you the pace will be dizzying.

I don't classify myself as a researcher at all. But I've browsed these Kennedy research boards for a number of years now. There is no investigator with knowledge of the circumstances of these events that I've ever found who thinks so clearly and concisely, who can express himself so well. Robert is one of a kind.

Sometimes it's good to be open and listen. We are, after all, in search of the truth. Robert is a tremendous resource in that regard.

I am not familiar with his background but have been impressed by some of his earlier posts and his writing is certainly articulate and well-organized. And I will be responding to his points above.

All that being said, however, I do not believe a serious assassination researcher can dismiss the possibility of Cuban/Soviet involvement without reading the Russo and Trento books. There are numerous (hundreds, I'd say) of facts reported in Russo's book unavailable from other sources. I have not yet had the opportunity to post the most salient facts here and I will never be able to post all of them. One must read his book.

Similarly with Trento. Trento names the members of the Politburo who he says formed a cabal to first eliminate Kennedy and then Khruschev. Many of these names are not familiar to assassination researchers. He has some basis for what he says--I am assuming he did not make up the whole thing. How can a person intelligently dismiss his scenario without reading his book?

I would also like to point out that given my "KISS" example above, Castro is the prime suspect with the strongest possible motive: preservation of his own life.

Let me comment. however, that Russo does raise an interesting point. There are some who argue that the most explicit statements Robert Kennedy every made about Fidel was his repeated urge to the CIA to "Get rid of Fidel" or words to that effect from which the CIA implied his authorization of Fidel's assassination. Russo suggests that Castro himself may never have explicitly ordered the assassination of JFK but members of Cuban intelligence may have implied their authority to do so from his September 7, 1963 warning.

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One of the men who shot Kennedy was Miguel Casas Sayez. According to James Angleton, Casas was personally selected for the assassination by Raul Castro.

Miguel and his older brother both knew Russian and had traveled to Moscow for training (not necessarily training related to the assassination). Upon their return, Miguel became a member of DGI (Cuban Intelligence).

After the assassination, Miguel and another man flew from Dallas to Tijuana on a twin-engine aircraft. From Tijuana they flew to Mexico City, arriving on the evening of November 22, 1963. According to sources considered by the CIA to be "highly reliable" the men were met at the airport by Cuban diplomatic personnel.

Miguel then got on a Cubana or FAR airplane and sat in the cockpit to avoid mixing with passengers.

Jim Hosty told Gus Russo: "I was told by an FBI agent that CIA agents in Mexico City were investigating the possibility of Castro's involvement. They picked up information about a mysterious person flying in from the United States, and then departing under mysterious circumstances on a plane for Cuba, when all of a sudden they received orders to cease and desist their investigation."

NEXT POSTING:

THE SECOND SHOOTER

GILBERTO POLICARPO (one-time resident of Key West, Florida)

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